Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Modern Firsts – Part 1 – A S Byatt and Robertson Davies

An amazingly clever and erudite writer, A S Byatt has been called the patron saint of bookworms, and all of her books deal with bookish matters and her heroines are bookish women. Her writing is very much to my taste, being a bookish person myself.

byatt_possession (Small)

A S Byatt first came to my notice in the late 1970s when I picked up and read her first Frederica Potter novel, The Virgin in the Garden. I was at the time immensely impressed with her writing and thereafter continued to look for her books. The books below are my humble collection of first editions of her novels. The Biographer’s Tale is a strange one.It seemed to go around in circles and never satisfactorily come to a conclusion. Possession is probably her best known book after it won the 1990 Booker Prize. A Whistling Woman is the last book in the Frederica Quartet and Angels & Insects contains the novellas Morpho Eugenia and The Conjugal Angel.

byatt_angels (Small) byatt_biographer (Small) byatt_whistlingwoman (Small)

Robertson Davies, now deceased, was a well-known Canadian writer, most famous for the novel Fifth Business, which was popular in the late 1970s. He is a very fine writer, urbane and witty with wonderful characterisations. There are laugh-out-loud passages in his novels and a sharp intelligence informs his observations of human follies and foibles. He wrote three trilogies – the Salterton Trilogy, the Deptford Trilogy and the Cornish Trilogy – and was two thirds into a fourth, known as the Toronto Trilogy, at his death.

robertson_davies_angels (Small) robertson_davies_bone (Small) robertson_davies_murther (Small)

The Rebel Angels is the first book in the Cornish Trilogy and What’s Bred in the Bone is the third book. I have the second in the series, The Lyre of Orpheus, in an uncorrected proof edition given to me by a good friend in the book trade. Murther and Walking Spirits is the first book in the Toronto Trilogy.


Ian Sales said...

I collect lLawrence Durrell myself - http://justhastobeplausible.blogspot.com/2008/04/lawrence-durrell-and-my-bookshelves.html

Er, I should add that I didn't buy the first editions when they were published...

Anne S said...

I have a collection of Lawrence Durrell myself on another bookshelf, only two of them are first editions, they being Sebasstian & Quinx. My other editions are oldish paperbacks.

Anne S said...

I just had a look at your collection - pretty goodand far more comprehensive than mine.